Blisters are fluid filled pockets that arise on skin due to friction or burns. They can be caused by activities such as running, walking, dancing or hiking, to name a few. However, regardless of the cause they are all uncomfortable and unsightly. It is important to take proper care of blisters in order to prevent infection and promote quick healing. Following these guidelines will keep your blister infection-free and get you back to your activities:
Refrain from popping – The fluid in the blister is nature’s way of healing and protecting the injury. By popping the blister and removing this fluid, chances of infection and the duration of healing increase.
I can’t walk! – If the blister is large, painful and being further irritated by your shoes, popping it is the next best option. Begin by sterilizing a needle with alcohol or running it through a flame until it turns bright red. Next, sterilize the area with an alcohol wipe and poke a small hole in the side of the blister. Slowly drain the fluid, being sure to leave the flap of skin over top of the blister. If the flap of skin is removed, it opens the blister up for infection. Lastly, disinfect the area with an antibiotic cream and keep it clean. It is best to leave the area open to the air to facilitate healing, but if you are wearing shoes you should cover it with a bandage.
Take a rest – To give the blister time to heal, refrain from whatever activity it was that caused the blister to form in the first place (hiking, jogging, etc.). After a few days of proper care and hygiene the blister should begin to heal and you should be able to return to normal activities.
Call the Doctor – If you begin to notice any signs of infection (pus, redness, warmth or red streaks) consult our office immediately. An infected blister, if not treated quickly and correctly, could lead to more severe conditions.
Prevent defense – Blisters can be prevented by wearing socks, adding extra padding to areas of high friction (e.g. mole skin or 2ndskin, both can be purchased at any drug store) and making sure your shoes fit correctly. If you plan on going for a hike try wearing two pairs of socks, the first pair inside out and the second pair normally. You can also decrease moisture by powdering your feet beforehand. By decreasing the amount of friction between your shoes and your feet, you will significantly decrease your risk of blister formation. Happy Hiking!
If you or someone you know has a blister that is not healing or infected, consider making an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson with Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona.